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Dimar: Lost Waters
(you can order a paperback copy or ebook here)

Special Thanks to:
Clay Dreslough, Ian Smith, David 'Tae' Baxter, Eugene Arenhaus and Paul aka 'Draco'. :)

Table of Contents

Intro
Prolog

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33

Glossary
Dimar terms
Arrallin terms

Map

 

 

Lost Waters - Chapter 31

     Luuko shook himself out of the groggy stupor he had flown in all night. He was glad to see dawn breaking on the horizon. Riding in the sling carried by Olitar, even bolstered by the lift of his good wing, was uncomfortable. With light coming, they'd have to store the pod and rest a while, which might give him a chance to check his knitting shoulder. He heard Olitar bark commands out to the few Telkans and Mulkol guiding and encouraging the pod. He couldn't see the giant egg-like seed case or the golden winged parachute that billowed above it, but he could feel it. The attendants had been Watering it and singing to it as they drifted along.
      "Keep it low to the treetops...we can't afford to be spotted. Lower! LOWER! You can do this!" Olitar was overseeing the guiding of the pod personally, but carrying Luuko was making it difficult for her to remain close. She, new to Pod launching herself, had to rely on a few young Telkans and rowdy Mulkol. To her credit, she wasn't rude to the Telkans, just efficient to a fault.
      He shifted his weight in the sling, trying to give his good wing a little more area and slightly more lift. Olitar peered down to check on him, but didn't seem disturbed by his movement. She seemed as solid on the Wind as he was when he was healthy.
      "How are you faring, Luuko? Can you handle a ridge landing?" Olitar tried to pry a bit into his mental condition to assess his injury, but Luuko blocked.
      "If you need to, release me and I can glide down and reach you on my own. The pod is what matters." Luuko answered flatly, shielding the fact that his shoulder had ached so badly that night that he had trouble staying conscious. The damage did extend to his wing flexors on the right side. He'd need more Water within the week to avoid a possible deadly infection or a mis-knitting, but he'd strike out on his own to find it. The Pod would need all the Water they'd brought with them to root successfully, especially if Tara and Telka had fallen to the angry swarm they had seen yesterday.
      Luuko gathered his strength and reached out to Telka, and felt it, although significantly different from before. Tara was not there. Tara wasn't anywhere. Luuko thrashed his head from side to side trying to vent his fear without making noise that might call attention to the pod.
      Olitar blocked his linking with Telka. "We're not supposed to make contact with anyone. Too risky. They'd be able to trace the Wind to the pod." She drop her link with him to work with the pod, leaving Luuko to sulk at the rebuff.
      With careful timing, they guided the pod in between two trees tall enough to prevent the casing from touching soil. The parachute tore along the front edge as a branch punctured it, and Olitar audibly swore. Luuko couldn't tell in the dim light of the morning how bad the damage was, but could feel that the pod still had quite a bit of lift it could generate. Swaying in-between the trees, the pod was eerily backlit by the rays of the rising sun. Luuko finally felt some hope. It was a beautiful pod, swirled green with gray, and even larger than Ekal's. It was eager to root - he could feel it growing, sensing the proximity to the ground.
      Olitar hovered down, allowing him to touch down on three legs. She untied the sling, and it drifted down in billowy piles to either side of him. Shaky, Luuko lowered himself to the ground and nervously reached one of the other Telkans in the group. To his relief, it was Genar, the talented young student.
      "Are we close enough to the ridge to allow the pod to use the valley for drop-lift, Genar?" Luuko couldn't see that far out in the dim light, but could hear her rustling around near the edge.
      "Yes! There's both a normal wind and plenty of Wind coming up this ridge for it to lift tomorrow night. Olitar did a good job." Genar quietly returned, settling in next to Luuko's good side to help keep him warm.
      "You did a good job. Olitar only barked out directions." Luuko snorted bitterly. He was resenting Mulkol. Tara was gone, along with his ability to take Telka Leadership, all thanks to the Mulkol.
      "No, Olitar cares. She'll see this project through even if she dies doing it. You should be kinder to her." Genar struck his neck with her nose in admonishment. "And, you talk in your sleep."
      Luuko peered at her in the gathering light. "What does that mean, I talk in my sleep?" He hissed.
      "You figure it out, morrak." Genar wiggled her ears and settled down to nap. Luuko wouldn't get much more out of her today. He tried to remember his dreams, but couldn't. Embarrassment washed over him; he wondered what he'd said. With the burning ache in his shoulder relieved somewhat from the rest, he settled down to sleep uneasily.
      It seemed like only minutes had passed, but when he opened his eyes, light filtered down straight to the forest floor where they slept. Noises from behind him - brusque human voices, set his nerves on edge. Olitar was already awake, trembling with anticipation of the angry visitors. Her tail lashed side to side, and she licked her chops. "We were warned about some renegade people who'd settled this area. I didn't realize we had landed this close." Olitar padded silently into the woods as Luuko struggled to rise. His shoulder was considerably better - He could put his foreleg to the ground again and it would take some weight.
      He padded after Olitar, snapping twigs as he went. He nearly roared a challenge as she poked her head out from behind a bush.
      "Go back to the seed pod, Luuko. You need to be with it to guard it. I can handle this. I've scouted the area and I have a plan to lure these hunters off. They're only looking for food, I suspect." Olitar carefully nudged him back toward the camp.
      "They're colonists. Promise me you won't kill them or eat them. They're Tara's children, even if they've strayed!" Luuko growled at her, snapping his jaws in warning.
      Olitar only laughed. "I'll only eat the babies. I'll hang up the adults on spikes, and make them watch me eat the babies feet first."
      Luuko reared back, hissing. "No! No! No!"
      "Luuko...is that what you really think of us Mulkol?" She shook her head, clucking. "Those people, mindless though they are, are hunters and warriors like me. I will enjoy their company over you fluffy Telkans. I will not kill them unless they threaten the pod." She snorted derisively and disappeared noiselessly into the dark forest understory.
      Luuko didn't follow, but did climb up the tree, half hovering, half grappling with his strong legs and wing. He could see into the clearings from his vantage point while also surveying the damage to the pod-sail. A Mulkol attendant sprinkled the patched sail with Water. It was mostly mended but the thickened healing area would not generate as much lift. Luuko would need to try to fly today to allow Olitar's brute strength help the pod make up for the damage.
      Movement caught his eye in a field. It was Olitar, about a half mile off, roaring and bugling. Somewhere, she had grabbed a tolu, a woodland leaf-eater, and had it pinned and bawling under one hindfoot. She was dragging her wing - it was twisted in an awkward position and looked damaged!
      Luuko thought a moment about the humans and their rifles, and about Olitar... Should I send out the Mulkol with the Water to help her, or perhaps let the humans..? Slamming his head full against a tree, he couldn't believe what he was thinking! Of COURSE he should send out help. His antics got the attention of the Mulkol Watering the sail.
      "Get out to Olitar, quickly! She's over there, in the field. She's hurt!" Luuko threw his head in the direction of Olitar's guttural cries.
      The Mulkol swept up next to him, and screamed off down into the forest, straight toward Olitar. Humans emerged from the woods just as he broke into the air over Olitar, roaring a warning to the tiny mindless ones to stay back. The young Mulkol hadn't learned English, but his roars kept humans at a good distance.
      Olitar swore, and broadcast something to the protective male hovering above her, trying to Water her wing. He sealed the Lita and flung it into the woods, and dropped into the field next to her. The bawling of the tolu mixed with the Mulkol's threatening cries. Luuko blinked. The Mulkol was growling at Olitar!
      Slashing with her tail, she nearly struck the young male in the chest. He slumped, and fluttered away, sending the humans on the far side of the field running back into the woods. Luuko could see from his vantage point that the lad was unhurt, but he flew off with faltering half-wingbeats away from both the field and the pod, crashing into the forest some distance beyond.
      "Olitar...Olitar...what the heck is going on?" Luuko reached out to her.
      "Shhh! One of the no-minds has a spark...a tiny bit of psi. Use a covered channel." Olitar silenced him on a private bandwidth.
      By this time, Genar and the others were scattered throughout the tree, watching with him in silence.
      The humans emerged from the woods, brandishing their sidearms. Luuko knew that Olitar had no armor that could protect against the lava guns the humans used.
      She hissed, slitting the throat of the unfortunate tolu. It's cries stopped. She picked at it's throat, nipping off a bit of meat, pretending to ignore the humans. Three of them started to yell, waving his arms and walking toward her and one fired his gun into the air.
      Olitar's scaly head whipped around, with an expression of shock. She bolted into the forest, half flying with the twisted wing. She moved off away from the field and the pod, off into the woods, crashing through the underbrush. With a sickening cry, the crashing stopped, and Luuko could hear no more.
      Cheers went up from the three men in the field as they dragged off the dead animal. They patted each other on the back, making congratulatory noises Luuko couldn't hear from that distance.
      The mood on the tree was frantic. Mulkol wanted to sweep down and crush the humans...the Telkans wanted to find their two missing party members and get on the move. Fighting broke out on shielded bandwidths between the two factions in the group.
      Luuko just sank quietly into his branch, wondering what would become of the tiny pod, so eager to grow. This was supposed to be a joyous time full of hope and unity. This was not how he'd dreamed this day, he growled bitterly.
      A tug on his tail got his attention, and he slowly turned his head down toward the forest floor where he had been sleeping. Olitar grinned up at him.
      "Olitar! You're fine! Kalil! You're back too...what in seven spires was going on!?" Luuko couldn't believe his eyes. Olitar was sitting there, smugly watching the fighting crowd, now stunned silent. She wrapped her tail around her feet and rumbled with amusement.
      "All I did was give the humans more excitement for one day than they could handle, plus a free meal. I'm hoping that once they've found their food, they won't have a reason to venture out this way again. I didn't want them choosing to explore around here, so Kalil and I pretended to 'die' off the woods on the other side of the clearing. The humans will search over there for our carcasses to scavenge, and not here." Olitar arched her neck proudly and preened. She WAS clever. Luuko quietly vowed to himself that yes, indeed, he would keep a close eye on her.
      "Humans don't eat Dimar, but you're right. That was a good ploy." Luuko clambered carefully down from his branch to rest on the warm soddy ground.
      "Those humans would, if they got the chance. They really hate us 'invaders' from what I could hear." Olitar's scaly brow furrowed. "They crash on our home, and we're the invaders." She shrugged, and peered up at the pod.
      "I wish there was a way we could shield the pod. It's singing it's growth song more loudly now that it's near the soil. I could hear it from the field." She strode up underneath the swaying pod, nuzzling it lovingly. "It's got a nice quiet song, though. An inexperienced Talent would mistake it for background noise from neighboring Barryds." Olitar dropped down on all fours and silently disappeared back into the forest to hunt. "We'll have fresh meat in an hour or two. Forage for now."
      Luuko settled on the ground, nibbling some of the succulent plants that grew at the base of the trees to stave off his growing hunger. Genar continued her light napping with the other travelers, each taking shifts watering and singing to the impatient pod. Kalil, the young Mulkol male, settled in trees above the pod, unable to sleep from the excitement of his encounter with colonists. Luuko drifted off to sleep again before the pain in his shoulder could return in full.
      A nudge on his shoulder awakened Luuko. "We've got company again." Mason was standing over him, listening. The others were already preparing the pod for the valley launch.
      Familiar furry faces emerged from the woods, waving in a friendly manner. Luuko knew them from Telka - they were former Telkan residents now living at Keinsa Hive, not far from here. There was a mind among them, who reached out to him and Mason.
      "You chose a dangerous spot to land in, friends. I'm Jasser, and this is Yira and Ellinara." The white and orange Arrallakeeni motioned to his friends. He turned to view the pod, now tinged with a golden glow from the setting sunlight. Luuko approved of the little Keeni. He could feel the reverence Jasser held for the pod. Jasser turned back, offering a warning "Those three men you ran into are rotten to the core. They've been attacking our hunting parties, robbing us of our kills. Parasites. Very anti-anything that isn't human. You're practically on top of their valley camp."
      Mason nodded, "I know one of them. He's not that bad, but he's impressionable, and he probably saw the gate close. He didn't know he wouldn't be going home from this trip." Luuko felt a pang of guilt ring through Mason's thoughts.
      "Worse yet, they've got two females with them who are just as bad. They'll breed soon." The Arrallakeeni regarded his sidearm and growled.
      "Why haven't you taken them out of the picture?" Mason made a slicing motion across his own neck, grinning slyly.
      The Arrallakeeni blinked up at him, stunned. "Yeah, and weaken the human breeding population even further? I'd rather be living next to smart, mean humans than stupid, hairless toothless humans." He winked at Mason, who chuckled. "Next fireseason, I have a feeling our human friends will warm up to the idea of getting 'alien' help. They haven't killed anyone yet. When they do, I'll take this conversation as active approval of any operation we undertake to rid our Hive region of their influence." Jasser bowed formally.
      Mason deferred, "Better run it by Tara if you want an official call on that. We're going to be your northern neighbors quite soon. There will be plenty of chances to get together to discuss the less savory human element in these parts."
      Luuko wondered if Mason honestly thought Tara was still with them. He detached himself from the conversation and tended to the pod to distract himself. His shoulder felt even better than before, with only a twinge of weakness. Genar smiled at him, as he experimentally pinned back a branch with his right foreleg.
      "Almost as good as new!" Luuko wiggled his ears and whuffled pleasantly.
      Genar nodded, continuing her own work to clear a path off the ridge for the pod. She was hiding something, but Luuko couldn't sense what it was.
      Jasser and his companions watched from the ground as they launched for the final leg of their journey. He took up the launch song with the Dimar in attendance as the golden wing billowed with lift. The pod swayed back and forth gently, slowly rising through the trees and along the path they'd cut for it. Catching the rising air from the Valley wall, it lifted high, banking northward to remain along the ridge, taking advantage of it's lift.
      Inspired, Luuko spread both his wings, excited to find that the injured ligaments had almost fully knitted. His wing was going to be fine after all!
      "That's some powerful Mulkai Water you have, Olitar. I'm almost completely healed!" Luuko rose up next to her as she guided the pod along the ridge wind. He did a celebratory barrel roll to test his newfound strength.
      Distracted, she nodded and gave him a friendly look. Luuko almost forgot his grudge against her as he took his position behind the floating pod and used his Wind generators to aid the package on it's way to the bay in the north.

The Tomb of the Unknown Editor: Thank you for all those pages of GREAT edits. I suck for losing your email. <:|   Dimar: Lost Waters is a public domain work of modern science fiction by Dee Dreslough. Please feel free to be inspired by it, draw pictures, write stories based on it, even republish the work as a whole...it belongs to everyone! www.Dimar.org